Inspiring – Pre-Order Today, due out 2nd April 2024
Operation Happy by Jenni L Walsh is an inspiring historical children’s novel that I read in just one sitting. It is perfect for ages eight to twelve years, although anyone who loves history would enjoy this book.
The book begins in 1938 but it’s main focus is the terrible events of Pearl Harbour in December 1941. The whole book revolves around this date. The action is seen through the eyes of marine dog Happy, and the daughter of a marine, Jody, whose father is posted to Pearl Harbour in 1940.
This is a powerful read as the war is presented through the eyes of a child. It is written in a way that young readers can understand without absolutely terrifying them. There is just enough detail without being too graphic.
Happy is retired from active marine life when he is given to Jody one Christmas. Happy is losing his 20 20 vision and growing older. His name is very apt. “It’s … near impossible not to look at you [Happy] and smile.” He is a loyal dog whose nature is happy. “It feels like an eternity has passed between saying goodbye to Gordon and hello to Jody.”
Happy takes his responsibilities very seriously. Jenni Walsh has the skill to put herself in Happy’s shoes as we see some events through his eyes. We learn how he is guided by his nose. He can smell fear and he can smell happiness. He also has the ability to instinctively know when something is wrong.
Love And Duty At Blackberry Farm by Rosie Clarke is a charming historical novel and the third book in the Blackberry Farm series but can be read as a stand-alone. I recommend reading the previous books first for character development and progression.
I enjoyed meeting up with familiar faces on Blackberry Farm in East Anglia. The year is 1942 and the war has touched the lives of all. There is an airstrip near the farm and land girls work the land.
Two out of the three sons are serving in the war, one is a farmer. Farming was a reserve occupation and important to the war effort too.
Blackberry Farm always provides a warm welcome as it opens its doors to all. The spirit of hospitality is huge.
We see the devastation that war brings as young men on both sides are killed or injured and their families mourn.
Some injuries are visible. Others are locked inside minds tormented by guilt, grief and unworthiness as they fight their private internal wars.
Tell Me Your Secrets by Mel McGrath is a totally griping contemporary psychological suspense that I just could not put down. I read it in just two sittings, pausing only to sleep.
There is the theme of grief. “Grief… is a country with a population of one.” No two people will ever grieve the same, even in response to the same event. With grief we see that guilt and regret go hand in hand.
A thirty year old cold case is awakened in present day as a character feels a connection in an old house. Secrets, lies and sadness inhabit the very walls, as the truth is trying to come out.
We witness the manipulation of many by one – but to what end? Read the book in order to find out.
All the characters were well drawn. Not all were likable. Mel McGrath manipulates the reader’s responses as we follow the action.
The Island by G.N. Smith is a marvellous nail-bitingly good crime thriller and the second book in A Fiona MacLeish Crime Thriller series. It can be read as a stand-alone but I recommend reading book one first in order to track character development.
The reader joins Fiona MacLeish on a remote Scottish island as the search for a young girl, also adds a rescue and the hunt for a double-killer to the leading lady’s workload. She is relentless in her pursuit of the truth. She will not rest until the girl is found and the killer apprehended.
Our childhoods shape the adults we become. Various characters have their behaviour’s motivated by a moment in time, long past. The reader’s heart breaks for a character who lost his sister and parents decades ago but still pursues behaviours that draw him close to their memories. He is a gentle giant with a good heart.
Alzheimer’s is a cruel master. A character who is locked in the past, causes chaos in the present.
Using the literary device of pathetic fallacy, the action mirrors the weather. Literal storms mirror the turmoil all around as events spin out of control.